Adult-Friendly Kid Food

By Nancy Gottesman

How many times have you and your spouse sat down to enjoy steak and fresh green beans as your child dined on noodles with butter, frozen pizza or PB&J?

If this scenario is familiar, you’re hardly alone. Many parents serve their children blander foods than they consume in the belief that children’s palates are not ready for “adult” foods. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Nutrition experts say that the earlier you introduce children to strong flavors—such as those in vegetables—the more likely it is that they’ll continue eating these foods. Plus, they need the nutrients in veggies and other bold-tasting foods!

Joachim Splichal, one of the country’s premier chef-restaurateurs, knows all about kid-friendly food. He and his wife, Christine, started feeding their twin sons healthy, mashed-up grown-up food when they were about 4 months old.

Today, his boys are 12-years-old and they still eat everything they’re served, except Brussels sprouts (but how many adults do you know who eat them?). “Preparing food from scratch for children seems like a lot of trouble, but it’s actually quite easy,” says Splichal, who owns the Patina Group of restaurants—more than 20 in all. “For instance, almost any vegetable can be cooked in 3 to 8 minutes in a steamer. Just puree it for the very young and chop it up for older toddlers.”

We’ve selected three meals from Splichal’s book, Feeding Baby: Simple, Healthy Recipes for Babies and Their Families, to show you just how easy it is to prepare kid food that’s sophisticated enough for adult taste buds.

These dinners are highly nutritious and appropriate for adults and kids, so you won’t have to prepare a meal for each age group. “I think something is lost by serving prepared foods to children,” Splichal professes. “Not only vitamins and minerals, but the warm feelings that come from sitting around the table together and eating the same foods as a family.”

Go to the next page to see the recipes!